Discrimination hits Muslims in Switzerland, EU report says

A European Commission report on Switzerland showed that racist attacks hit Muslims in social and political fields.

Discrimination hits Muslims in Switzerland, EU report says

World Bulletin / News Desk

A European Commission report on Switzerland showed that racist attacks hit Muslims in social and political fields.

The report highlights problems of direct racial discrimination in gaining access to employment, housing, goods and services. The victims are mainly Muslims and originate from the Balkans, Turkey and Africa.

The findings published on Tuesday in a report compiled by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), chart the progress made by Switzerland in implementing recommendations for action in curbing racism made in 2004, Human Rights Tribune said.

ECRI noted there had been a dangerous growth of racist political discourse against foreign nationals, Muslims, blacks and other minorities.

The ECRI found the Swiss People's Party to be part of the problem. It warned against the tone of rhetoric used by the populist Swiss People's Party, or SVP. Party members had repeatedly attacked the basic rights of Muslims and breached the ban on racism and hate speech.

The "political discourse" of this national conservative party had "taken on a racist and anti-foreigner tone that could lead to racist generalizations against foreigners, Muslims and other minorities," the report said. Also, statements by the SVP had led to "deep anxiety within Swiss society and within minority groups."

Immigrant children have disadvantages in education, some Swiss media have reinforced racist stereotypes, and neo-Nazi and far-right groups have been active in the country.

Finally, the report said legislation had not been adequately developed to deal with direct racial discrimination.

The Swiss People's Party blamed European Commission for "interference" after its report. It also accused immigrants of crimes, swissinfo.ch said.

The Swiss Refugee Council agreed with the report overall and told swissinfo.ch the government needed to improve communication about its asylum policies before public opinion and discrimination could change.
Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2009, 15:03
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